Last weekend saw the opening of two theaters--one in the convoluted suburban sprawl of Beaverton, and another in the St. Johns neighborhood. While one has fancy-pants presentation, the other boasts a decidedly local take on first-run films.

Compared to the Century already out on 82nd, the tongue twistingly named Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing (3200 SW Hocken Avenue) is pretty similar, with a few improvements: Gorgeous giant screens, booming THX sound, and stadium seating. There are drawbacks--it's damn near impossible to theater-hop; there's a disturbingly large, cafeteria-like concession area; and while they don't have Regal Cinema's abhorrent barrage of TV commercials preceding the film, "The 2wenty," you'll still have to sit through ads for and a slideshow for shitty Beaverton restaurants.

If you can't stand giving one more penny to either Century Theaters or Regal Cinemas, the former run-down, busted seat environs of the St. Johns Theater have been taken over by new, energetic management whose mission is to offer first-run movies at a great price, with--wait for it--BEER. While the Laurelhurst offers beer and Pizzicato pizza along with strong second-run programming, the St. Johns Historic Twin Cinema & Pub (8704 N. Lombard) is taking the next step by offering libations and food along with brand spankin' new movies. Plus, the entire place has been given a facelift, with new paint, digital sound, a concession stand, cup holders, and tables.

In addition to lower movie prices ($5.75) and reasonably priced, high quality microbrews, the management is also giving back to the community. For their grand reopening last weekend, admission was a can of food--donated to the Salvation Army--and they also run a practically free matinee, wherein any profits go to local schools. Good ideas like this should be supported, and the new and greatly improved St. Johns Historic Twin Cinema & Pub is worth the drive, no matter where you live.